Friday, June 8, 2012

Garden with children, just watch the seeds

I spent one afternoon this week gardening with children—four- and five-year-olds. It was fun but I needed assistance with even three children at a time.

This summer we’re gardening at The Nest—Center for Women, Children & Families. When some of the children said that they knew where food came from then named a local store, the Child Care Director decided they needed to understand a little bit more. She brought in someone from a local orchard who made it fun to learn about fresh fruits. She also invited someone to cook green eggs and ham in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. As a result, the children learned a little bit about chickens and eggs.

Now they have a garden to tend. Generous volunteers helped to eliminate the weeds from the small plot. They then covered the area with cardboard and put mulch on top of the cardboard. Part of the mulch, the part for planting, is a 50/50 soil mix.

So when the children and I began planting seeds, we had something wonderful to begin with—weed-free, loose soil. With donated seeds, we planted beans, peanuts, beets, okra and lettuce. Of course, I’m uncertain where some of the seeds actually went into the ground. Many of the little boys were quite excited to use a trowel to dig up dirt with which they could cover their just-planted seeds. As you can imagine, little boys don’t always remember where they planted their seeds so I have a feel they dug up seeds to cover some of the new seeds. Regardless, the seeds are somewhere in the ground. And the children are beginning to understand where food comes from.

Now we wait for rain and next week’s lesson in the garden.

To see photos of the planting, go to The Nest’s Facebook page.

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